[videos in on-line article]
Published 5 November 2016
Chief: '20 Standing Rocks' if Canada Ignores Indigenous Consent
The Trudeau government declared Thursday it does not need First Nations
consent on natural resource projects, angering First Nations.
Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon made his remarks in response to
Liberal Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr´s surprise declaration on
Thursday that Canada need only “consult and accommodate” First Nations
on natural resource projects taking place on their territory.
“New infrastructure to bring in more oil from the tar sands? Forget it,
it’s not going to happen,” said Simon, who is also a lead spokesperson
for an anti-pipeline treaty alliance supported by about 85 First
Nations. “I don’t care what Jim Carr says that no consent is
necessary…Consent, it’s what we are demanding, and he will never get our
consent, not for something like this. What if we gave Canada 20 Standing
Rocks? I wonder if his position will change then?”
Minister Carr´s declaration contradicts the Trudeau government´s
promises to follow Canadian Supreme Court Rulings and the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which require “free, prior, and
informed consent” of Indigenous Nations to any natural resource projects
affecting their traditional and treaty territories.
“We always knew the Trudeau government, a lot of his ministers, are
influenced by the fossil fuel industry,” said Simon. “If we keep doing
this, our children and their children are going to suffer the brunt of
Minister Carr made his comments on the same day two groups of climate
activists occupied both his constituency office and that of the
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. The activists called on the
Trudeau government to respect Indigenous land rights and reject the
expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline which would carry
tar sands crude oil through the territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The occupations came as a government-convened panel released a report on
the Trans Mountain Pipeline project which raised serious questions about
the viability of the project given the legal requirement of obtaining
the consent of the First Nations affected by the project.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Friday he
expects the Trudeau government to fulfill its commitments on the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
“The government endorsed UNDRIP without qualification, and the UN
declaration states the requirement of free, prior and informed consent
by First Nations over any activities that can impact our rights, our
people or our territory,” said Bellegarde.
Chief Simon´s statement came as 75 Mohawks of Kahnawake blockaded a
major Canadian Pacific Rail line between Canada and U.S. on Thursday in
solidarity with the water protectors in Standing Rock who are
challenging the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
A statement released by the Kahnawake People´s Fire said, “There is an
injustice that is transpiring by the government to protect the
corporations with complete disregard to environmental disasters that
will proceed their decision to install the Dakota Access Pipeline. The
Canadian and American governments have neglected their obligations to
protect the people that they represent, and we are standing for their
safety as well.”
On Friday a group of Indigenous land protectors and their allies in the
eastern Canadian province of Labrador vowed to resume their protest of
the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project which threatens to poison their
water and food supply .
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